Sept May I Suggest: Kitchen.10 September 2010
To start, I must state that I am not an amazing cook. It is something I am definitely working on and slowly but surely getting better at. One thing I have always loved doing however is baking. Cookies being my main specialty. (We won't mention the fact that my almost 3-year-old can pretty much make cookies by himself, eh-hem). Nonetheless, here are a few of my favorite gadgets and tools I use in the kitchen.
1. Nonstick 3-piece Baking Sheet Combo by AirBake. These cookie sheets are just plain awesome. I was first given the large one for my wedding. It is the only baking sheet I have ever used to bake my chocolate chip cookies. For our anniversary one year, my husband got me this 3-piece set knowing how much I loved my first one. They bake so evenly and clean off insanely easy. I also use these to bake breadsticks and homemade pizza.
2. Stainless Steel Spring Action Scoop (2 tbsp) by Norpro. I can't function in the kitchen without this awesome gadget. This cookie scoop makes perfectly round cookies and cuts the time it takes to bake cookies in half (well, at least for me). I made cookies at my in-laws once and they didn't have a scoop. It was such a pathetic mess as I tried to use two regular tablespoons instead! I always give this paired with the baking sheets above at bridal showers along with my chocolate chip cookie recipe.
3. Koncis Garlic Press from Ikea. My mom has always had this awesome garlic press from The Pampered Chef that I have envied. One day while perusing through Ikea I came across this super cheap but equally functional version of it. Everyone needs a garlic press in their kitchen and this one is very affordable!
4. Mrs. Anderson's Pie Crust Shield. I grew up in a cake eating family. Meaning, we had cake for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and any other celebration you can think of. My husband, however, grew up in a pie eating family. This was a huge change for me when he requested pie for his birthday the first year we were married. I didn't know what to do. I had never made a pie before, and had only had a slice here and there during Thanksgiving. I have since become a pie maker, and this pie crust shield does an awesome job in preventing burnt or overcooked crust! It's been a life saver in our marriage.
I love food. Cooking, entertaining, and eating are all things I find great joy in. Narrowing down this list was hard, but I chose three products I use regularly that have never let me down.
1. Cheese Grater (or Chosigt if you speak IKEA)- Who would've thought that a store known for their inexpensive wares would have a product that would make my top three? I purchased this grater on my first IKEA trip while in Long Island almost 8 years ago, and I can't count how many times I've used it. I love that the grater fits right onto a container so there's no fumbling with an unstable box grater. I love that the two different grater lids plus the container and storage lid all fit together so neatly. My favorite feature is that the container has a storage lid so whatever I've grated can go straight in the fridge.
2. Pampered Chef Measure-All Cup- My mom used this same measuring cup when I was growing up, and it was one I knew I needed to have in my own kitchen. For sticky ingredients (particularly things like peanut butter, shortening, honey) this measuring cup is a must own. The sides scrape clean as you push out the ingredients you've measured. They've also added a liquid measure feature, and it handles dry ingredients as well. This measuring cup along with some cookie sheets and a favorite peanut butter cookie recipe would make a great shower gift.
3. Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker- This was one of the best wedding gifts we received, especially for a girl who's proclaimed ice cream as her favorite food for most of her life. The fact that I can enjoy homemade ice cream without the mess of rock salt is a wonderful invention indeed.
I could write all day about the things that stock my kitchen. Seriously, I could. Instead, I'll tell you about three things that always make me happy when I use them. These are the things that always seem to make my cooking/baking experiences all the more pleasant.
1.) Microplane Zester--oh how I love thee. This baby is so sharp it makes zesting lemons a snap. It also shaves a brick of Parmesan into delicate beautiful ribbons and makes quick work of grinding a whole nutmeg. Everyone should have one. I mean it.
2.) Parchment paper--but not the kind that you buy in the roll at the grocery store. These pre-cut pieces of parchment paper fit perfectly into my cookie sheets. No cutting, no rolling up at the sides, just easy peasy. Plus you can use them more than once so one pack lasts forever. They even have half sizes for your smaller cookie sheets!
3.) Maldon Salt-- okay, I admit it...I have a lot of different kinds of salt in my cupboard. But this...this is my fancy salt. I use it to top homemade French Bread or pretzels, any special desserts that call for a pinch of salt on top or really, anything that I want to be extra special. This salt is so pretty and flaky I get all giddy when I open the box. I bought mine at the Savory Spice Shop in Denver but if you happen upon some in a specialty store, snatch it up.
What kitchen items are YOU loving this month?
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